I come from two different cultures that share the same attitude towards life – that life is compose by a series of cause and effect and I have a great deal of control over my own future. Yet today was the second time in 6 months where I have absolutely no control over the immediate future, which will consequently affect the rest of my life. The first time was back in February when I received the invitation packet from the Peace Corps informing the country placement. And today we received our post placement in country.
Personally, this second "sentence" was much more nerve wrecking than the first; partly because I am now in country and have a better knowledge of the regions that I could end up. The Post announcement when like this: Our APCD had a chief's hat and inside of it were slips of papers with our names and respective posts. (Those were pre-selected by him; we didn't draw our future out of a hat) Then, one person draws a slip of paper from the hat, announces the person's name and post on the paper. That person then repeats the same process.
My only request for post was a francophone region. Mastering French is a priority, among other things. I also wanted to stay in the West province, since I've really enjoyed the climate here and I'm not too excited by the idea of Cameroonian way of travel. Staying in the West was less of a priority, but luckily, both wishes were met! For safety & security reasons, I can't disclose the name of my town here. If you want to know, send me an email, and I'll let you know. I am staying here in the West province and therefore close to many volunteers. I am also just 40 minutes away from the provincial capital, where there is a supermarket and I can buy sort-of-American things.
My counterpart is a MC2 – a microfinance institution that's a part of a big network here. I will also likely work with the MC2 in the neighboring town. (What's up with the 2-for-1 deals? First the assigned company, now my counterpart!) The town supposedly has a lot of potential for projects and many organized community groups. I am replacing a volunteer who is COSing in August. I'll take his house and hopefully buy things off of him. Next week during site visit, I'll stay there and he'll acquaint me to the community.
Now, here is the catch. Rumor has it I don't have running water! At least there is electricity. I pick electricity over water any day! Also, it's a tiny village. I don't mind the small town so much since the cities here are scary. I like the idea of really integrating into a community, and that's nearly impossibly in a big city. Apart from being close to the provincial capital, there is also a paved road that runs through my village. The road goes to Yaoundé or Douala, making it easier if I need a break!
I am grateful and content with the post and can't wait to visit next week! Each day feels a bit more realistic than before. Days are passing quickly. After site visit, we only have one month left of training, then off to the "real world". Aaack!